Many of us are spending more time at home today than ever before. Essential to creating the most comfortable and peaceful living environment? Cultivating quiet. Whether you’re dealing with rowdy neighbors, traffic-related clatter, or another frustrating sound, minimizing external noise is essential to maximizing relaxation.
The good news? There are several things you can do to keep noise pollution at bay and turn your home into a truly tranquil haven.
Start with these six proven soundproofing strategies for homeowners.
Use furnishings and room accessories as noise absorbers
Furniture and accessories aren’t just elements of aesthetic design; they also have noise absorption capabilities. If you’ve ever spoken aloud in an unfurnished room, you know that sound carries. Mindful furnishings and accessories can go a long way to creating quiet spaces by absorbing sounds that would otherwise permeate a space.
Area rugs, carpets, and carpet tiles don’t just add warmth and comfort to hard surfaces. They also soften the effects of external noise. And not just as floor coverings, either. Hanging a decorative rug on a wall becomes a beautiful focal point while also blocking noise. The same goes for canvas paintings. Meanwhile, avoid large glass mirrors which can actually reflect sound the same way they reflect light.
Furniture is also a natural insulator—especially when strategically placed against walls and other areas where outside noise enters. One especially effective strategy? Bookshelves filled with dense materials, such as books, towels, and clothing.
Plan window treatments wisely
We often think of window treatments in terms of the privacy and sun blockage they offer. However, they’re also design elements in and of themselves.
When it comes to decorative soundproofing, some types of window treatments significantly outperform others. For example, curtains and drapes are especially effective at softening the look, feel, and sound of a room.
Upgrade to impact windows and doors
Windows and doors are major offenders when it comes to letting in outside noise. In fact, data suggest that a whopping 90 percent of noise enters homes through windows, NOT walls. Enter impact windows and doors, which lessen noise by providing a significant amount of additional insulation.
After upgrading her windows to make her house less drafty, one homeowner was pleasantly surprised by their noise-reducing abilities. “The side effect was silencing totally what is outside. I hardly hear any cars whatsoever,” she told The Washington Post.
But soundproofing is just one of many benefits of impact windows and doors. Featuring thick glass, sturdy frames, and weather stripping, they’ve become an increasingly popular choice with homeowners for the numerous advantages they offer, including storm protection, UV protection, security, and improved energy efficiency. You may even get a discount on your homeowner’s insurance when you invest in storm impact windows and doors.
And of course, impact doors and windows — available in many door and window styles — can also enhance your home’s curb appeal.
While impact doors and windows are the most effective soundproofing strategy, sealing up any existing holes and cracks can also help. Because noise penetrates even the smallest spaces, sound blocking measures like adding flexible polyurethane and latex caulking around windows, doors, and siding are a must.
The same concept applies to areas where pipes and wires enter your home; use putty and expanding foam to stop noises before they enter.
Add additional insulation and drywall
Drywall and insulation are both very effective at blocking noise. In addition to keeping external noise out, these soundproofing materials are also excellent for blocking noise between rooms. Have an aspiring drummer or trumpet player living in your home? Drywall and insulation can help you keep the peace. A different yet similar option? Sound-absorbing acoustic panels.
Get a white noise machine
While introducing more noise may not sound like the most sensible solution, research indicates that the soothing sound of white noise effectively masks other noises by creating a “blanket of sound.” In fact, studies indicate that white noise machines can reduce sleep onset by nearly 40 percent!
White noise has also been linked with helping babies and young children sleep better, and even for helping inattentive kids concentrate.
Not keen on white noise? Consider pink, red, or blue noise, instead. Because each of these is different in terms of the quality of sound they provide, experts recommend experimenting until you find the one that’s most pleasing to you.
Improve your landscaping and fencing
You can also reduce noise inside your home with strategic landscaping and fencing. Heavy, thick materials like brick and pressure-treated wood fencing are ideal for buffering noise. Hedges, shrubs, and even vines can add another element of noise protection.
A few simple upgrades could turn your noisy home into a peaceful domicile. Plus, in the case of many of these projects, like installing impact windows and doors, you get some great additional benefits to improve your lifestyle.